Infant Teaching

1/7/13 Linkism:
"I think people were meant to have short attention spans. All the time I think people are looking at amazing things, like looking at the tallest building, and they don't spend any time appreciating them."

This comment reminded me of a blog entry I started while I was teaching preschool, so here it is:

What I learned when I taught preschool
When we had our first two children, I tried to find a way to maintain my income and avoid putting our kids in daycare. I was pretty unconventional about my work life. I tried keeping the same job and working from home, but my employer wanted to "look over my shoulder" whenever they wanted. I started my own business, but I ended up working double shifts, working all night some times to keep clients happy. I even ended up doing CAD on my laptop in my hospital bed hours after our second child entered the world.
I loved the Montessori school our boys attended. I just wanted to be home with them until they were eighteen months and could attend. When our third child was born (7 years later), I still couldn't imagine how I could live with working outside the home and putting her in daycare. Our church has a wonderful preschool that starts at 6 months. They have options for 2-4 day programs which I figured would work well for my at-home consulting job. I was also studying for obtaining an alternate certification in teaching. I figured that since I love to work with kids, and mentor and teach them, I could do something I love and have the same hours and vacation days as our kids.
I walked out of the school not only feeling great about their teachers, programs, and facility, I walked out with an offer to co-teach the 6mos-12mos class, which my daughter would be in. I taught there for a year and half before returning to a part-time gig I couldn't resist.
Here are some of the many things the students taught me:
Children thrive in social school settings at a much earlier age than I could imagine. This lesson immediately stripped away years of guilt I carried about not staying at home with our older two.
Every day holds endless WOW moments. Kids see things we miss. Fill in your own blanks about why we miss them. The point is, they attend to new things.
Kids teach each other in ways I've never imagined. They learn through modeling after each other, exploring as a group, recognizing each other's strengths, and learning to trust and developing empathy for each other.
Six month olds and up respond to structured lessons, sensory activities of all kinds, as well as open, self guided play.
Every child has their own interest, pace, and style of learning and ways of expressing themselves.
Little ones see right through you if you are masking your true feelings.
When we slow down enough and look at each moment with fresh eyes, we see, we learn, we teach and we love each other no matter our age.

Grace in and peace out